Hamilton 11/10 For Fourth World Title

Lewis HamiltonFerrari have been the fastest team in testing ahead of the new Formula 1 season, which begins in Australia next weekend, and Lewis Hamilton insists they are the favourites for the title in 2017.

The bookmakers disagree, however, making Hamilton the firm favourite to claim his fourth title following the retirement of his former team-mate and current world champion Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton’s Mercedes has been pretty quick in testing in Spain too, and the 2008, 2014 and 2015 champion is no better than the 11/10 with Sky Bet to take the top prize, with his incoming team-mate Valtteri Bottas at 11/2 with Betfred.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, winner of four successive titles between 2010 and 2013, is the 4/1 second favourite, with fellow Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen available at 10/1.

The sport’s promoters are promising more excitement this coming season, with the new, slightly heavier cars having wider tyres, greater fuel capacity and being harder to drive, but the betting makes it clear that Red Bull drivers – Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo – are the only others in the running for the Drivers Championship.

They can be backed at best odds of 8/1 and 9/1 respectively with Bet365 this year.

Hamilton is 5/4 with Ladbrokes to win the season-opener in Melbourne, where he finished second to Rosberg last year, with Vettel a 7/2 chance with Paddy Power.